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Thursday, June 02, 2011, 02:00 pm PT (05:00 pm ET)

Apple execs "overtly optimistic" about iOS, see tablets outpacing PCs soon

After meeting with Apple executives, Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope reported that the company appeared "overtly optimistic on the long-term prospects for the iOS platform."

Shope met with Apple's chief operations officer Tim Cook, retail head Ron Johnson and chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer.

According to a report obtained by AppleInsider, while the trio of Apple executives didn't divulge any secret features of the upcoming iOS 5, they did note high expectations for iPads and iPhones.

In his Goldman Sachs note, Shope noted that Cook "remained remarkably optimistic about the demand for the iPad and the long-term market opportunity for tablets. Indeed, he stated that he sees no reason why the tablet market shouldn’t eclipse the PC market over the next several years."

Apple already sells more iPads than Macs, and the impact the iPad is having on PC sales in general (which are shrinking globally) is making a clear imprint on Microsoft's plans for Windows 8.

The new features of Windows 8 demonstrated so far focus entirely upon making the product suitable for use on iPad like devices. Microsoft has even clarified that it will not support emulation of existing Windows apps on new mobile ARM-based tablets, pushing users to move entirely to a new type of apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript.

Shope also noted that Apple now reports having 200 carriers for the iPhone (up from 189 at the end of the March quarter) and that it continues to enjoy strong retail sales from its chain of more than 200 outlets, something that neither Microsoft, nor its Windows PC hardware partners, nor any Android licensees have at their disposal to help sell and train users on new products.

The analyst estimates that Apple will sell 8.1 million iPads in the June quarter, an increase of 72 percent over last year's summer quarter, pointing out that Apple management "noted that they continued to work to meet iPad demand and that they were making as many devices as they could."